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Google, Microsoft, others ‘quietly pay’ ad blocking tool

Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola are said to have cut quiet deals with Eyeo, a German startup and developer of the world’s largest used software for blocking online ads, Adblock Plus.

The deals are meant to exempt these companies from the blocking software in a process called “whitelisting.”

The details of the deals are said to be confidential but the Financial Times, which reported the news on its website, said it had confirmed their existence.

Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola are said to have cut quiet deals with Eyeo, a German startup and developer of the world’s largest used software for blocking online ads, Adblock Plus.

The deals are meant to exempt these companies from the blocking software in a process called “whitelisting.”

The details of the deals are said to be confidential but the Financial Times, which reported the news on its website, said it had confirmed their existence.

According to the FT report, Eyeo makes money by operating a “whitelist” of certain ads that are not blocked. It says sites can join this “acceptable ads” programme only if they meet criteria such as being “transparent with us about being an ad” and “do not disrupt or distort the page content we’re trying to read”.

It quotes one unnamed digital media company as saying that Eyeo had asked for a fee equivalent to 30% of the additional ad revenues that it would make from being unblocked.

Smaller sites and blogs are said to be excluded from such levies.

As more and more online users install software on their devices to block ads, publishers and advertisers have been trying to get around them in order to increase pageviews and clicks—which are increasingly hard to come by and even harder to translate into money.

In addition to Adblock Plus, which is said to be used by more than 50 million active monthly users, other popular ad-blocking tools include Adblock Edge and Ad Muncher.

The various ad-blocking tools make sizeable dents in publishers’ revenues and many are taking corrective action. According to the FT report, German media groups including RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 are seeking damages from Eyeo, while French publishers are reportedly considering whether to follow suit.

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